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Take-Home Message: Principles Unique to Alternate Assessments. William D. Schafer University of Maryland. What is the Inference?. Validity depends on the inference that is to be taken from an assessment.

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take home message principles unique to alternate assessments

Take-Home Message: Principles Unique to Alternate Assessments

William D. Schafer

University of Maryland

what is the inference
What is the Inference?
  • Validity depends on the inference that is to be taken from an assessment.
  • For alternate assessments, it makes most sense to consider a summative PROGRAM EVALUATION inference.
  • The crucial inference is: Did the student’s teacher meet his or her educational goals?
interpreting scores
Interpreting Scores
  • In order to make any inference, a student’s score needs to be contextualized
  • For NCLB assessments, it makes most sense to contextualize the score using achievement levels and their associated cut-scores
  • Criterion referencing rather than norm referencing
evaluating cut scores
Evaluating Cut Scores
  • Cut-score reliability and validity are as important as are reliability and validity of student scores
  • Cut scores and proficiency level descriptions help implement the FUNDAMENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY PRINCIPLE: Test every student on what they are supposed to be studying
  • For the regular assessment, cut score reliability and validity are developed through standard-setting studies
  • Alternate Assessments are different:
individualizing success
Individualizing Success
  • All students who take Alternate Assessments have IEPs
  • Students’ educational goals may be individualized (e.g., through IEPs)
  • Achievement standards should also be individualized
  • Judgments about reliability and validity of achievement standards (criteria) should reflect that individualization
grouping for psychometric study
Grouping for Psychometric Study
  • Groupings of students may make sense in order to generate reliability and validity evidence
  • Degree of challenge might be low, medium, high – or other system
  • Age of diagnosis might be a proxy for degree of challenge
  • Qualitative differences might also be used to develop groups
an expectation for validity evidence
An Expectation for Validity Evidence
  • A positive outcome for validity evidence would be to find that the degrees of challenge students face are independent of the achievement level judgments they receive
  • This is my belief, but it is controversial
  • Others believe that like the regular assessment, we should expect scores to reveal lower achievement (and achievement levels) for students who are most challenged
  • This is a fundamental philosophical principle that separates alternate assessments from each other
reliability true variance vs replicability
Reliability: True Variancevs. Replicability
  • We should be more interested in documenting capacity for replication of results than identification of individual differences (traditional reliability)
  • True variance is not a useful construct and neither is variance partitioning
  • More useful is to conceptualize reliability as sufficiency of evidence for replication
  • Decision Accuracy for Alt-MSA is an example